WORLD ECONOMY: Central banks in the United States and Europe are cutting key interest rates in a coordinated attempt to stave off a global recession. The Federal Reserveannounced the emergency rate cut early today, one day after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke hinted a cut could be on the way. The U.S. central bank says it is cutting the benchmark interest rate by half-a-percent (to one-point-five percent). The European Central Bank, and central banks in Britain and Canada also are cutting their key rates. Officials hope lowering interest rates will help persuade banks to start lending money, and ease a credit crunch that has threatened to bring many businesses close to failure.
US - POLITICS: Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama clashed Tuesday in
their second presidential debate over their plans for addressing the
economic crisis, climate change and foreign policy issues.
In their debate in Nashville, Tennessee, Senator McCain blamed the
financial crisis on what he called "greed and excesses" in Washington
and on Wall Street. He said he has a plan to fix the crisis, including
ordering the federal government to re-negotiate bad loans to help keep
Americans in their homes.
Senator Obama called these financial problems the "final verdict" on
the failed economic policies of President George Bush that were
supported by McCain.
THAILAND - PROTESTS: The streets of Thailand's capital, Bangkok, were calm this morning after a day of violence that left two dead and nearly 400
Thailand's military was called in to help police after clashes between
police and anti-government protesters on Tuesday. But Army Commander
General Anupong Paochinda said the military will not stage a coup.
A spokesman for the Thai army says the troops will be unarmed and will
help police patrol streets and maintain order.
Hospital officials say one female protester was killed during Tuesday's
clashes outside Thailand's parliament.
INDONESIA - ASEAN: An Indonesian legislative panel has agreed to ratify the landmark
Southeast Asian charter that promotes democracy and human rights.
The special committee of the House of Representatives gave its approval
during a meeting today in Jakarta. The full House is
expected to officially approve the charter later this month. Indonesia
is the only member of the Association of South East Asian
Nations that has not yet ratified the charter. The Philippine Senate
ratified the pact Tuesday.
The charter was signed last year by leaders of the 10-member regional
US - CHINA - GUANTANOMO: The White House says it "strongly disagrees" with a U.S. judge's decision to order the release into the United States of 17 Chinese Muslims detained at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A White House spokeswoman says the order to release the detained group of ethnic Uighurs by Friday is contrary to U.S. immigration laws. She said the U.S. Department of Justice will immediately seek to reverse the decision in a court of appeals. Tuesday's ruling from a U.S. federal district court is a victory for the group of 17, who requested to be released into the U.S. after seven years at Guantanamo.
RUSSIA - GEORGIA: Russian forces are withdrawing from positions outside the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia.
A top Russian military official said today that
Russian forces are leaving six checkpoints near the South Ossetian
border. Witnesses report seeing trucks and tanks leaving the posts.
European Union observers are also monitoring the drawback.
The Russian government has promised to leave undisputed Georgian
territory by Friday, under a cease-fire agreement brokered last month
NEPAL - PLANE CRASH: Officials in Nepal say a small passenger plane crashed today in the eastern part of the country, killing 18 people on board, including 12 tourists from Germany. Two Australian tourists were also on the plane. There is only one known survivor -- a Nepalese crew-member. The Yeti Airlines plane crashed in foggy weather while landing at Lukla airport, which is east of the capital Kathmandu. The airport is used for tourists visiting Mount Everest. Its small runway is built directly on a hillside.
Listen to our World News for details.